February 5th, 2014
RestoreCSA was contacted by whistleblowers during 2013, and they have furnished a wealth of information on the CSA’s internal workings. Sources inside CSA were the first to advise of the conduct of Lisa Ebberman and to confirm our suspicions of the role of Patti Ensor, the notorious subject of the PattiWatch series. We received a lot of documentation, from CSA committee minutes to transcripts of internal meetings. We have enough data from whistleblowers to keep multiple departments of the Federal Government churning on this file for a long time.
Why are these people talking? Well, mostly its because they’re upset at what they regard as major integrity problems at CSA. Sometimes these problems involve what they believe to be criminal activity. And sometimes, given the nature of their assignments, those on the inside are concerned about personal liability.
Whistleblower information is especially useful with governments, in urging a CSA cleanup. Some of the data is withheld by RestoreCSA pending authentication. To protect identity, only a small fraction is useful for public information.
So, from that fraction, what are the whistleblowers saying?
”[CSA’s] internal ethics policy only exists to enable them to say they’ve got an ethics policy, its never followed.”
This is a theme among CSA insiders. They see a huge chasm between what the CSA says it does and what it actually does. As one whistleblower complained, “they don’t have a sense of ethics.”
“Culturally, corruption is a generally known activity.”
That’s another theme. Apparently unethical or illegal practices are common enough that most CSA staff are aware of them.
In CSA’s management meetings, questions about legal or political accountability are brushed off. If a legitimate company behaved like CSA they would be vulnerable to all manner of investigation and consequence. But in the words of CSA management; “we’re invulnerable.”
The CSA organization has indeed been invulnerable. Right now, the RCMP Commercial Crimes Unit is told that it cannot investigate the CSA and neither can Industry Canada’s Competition Bureau. Industry Canada itself has routinely given the CSA immunities from civil litigation. The Standards Council of Canada routinely ignores the CSA’s violation of its own accreditation regulations. Provincial courts have issued rulings confirming that the CSA is not liable for its conduct and has no legal responsibility to the safety of Canadians. And the Minister of Industry keeps insisting that the CSA isn’t accountable to him either, no matter what the law says. Or his Cabinet colleagues. Or all of the Provincial Governments in Canada.
Functionally then, the CSA defies the law, is above the law, and claims to own the law.
On the inside of course, they know this. They’re “Superman” at CSA.
Well, we’re working hard to bring them down to earth, to restore the CSA to its charter and its original purpose. And insiders’ contributions are critical in that effort.
For the whistleblower, feeling trapped in the CSA and worrying for the future is unpleasant. Working to clean up the CSA can feel therapeutic to them, like a weight has been lifted. Some of their comments:
“Your […] post is so thorough, thanks.”
[The feeling] “gets better and better.”
“I just read your ‘broadside’—every […] detail you got from me is right, and very clearly put.”
“I was amazed -I’m so used to [others] making a mess of [data]. I’ll send your account among my contacts.”
At RestoreCSA, we strive to be a safe resource for insiders, to give them the support that they need and confidence in our careful handing of their information and their confidentiality. We help them help restore the CSA.